Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Intrinsic Values That Affect Men's Motivation to Participate in Female Abuse Prevention

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Intrinsic Values That Affect Men's Motivation to Participate in Female Abuse Prevention

Article excerpt

Women experience around 4.8 million physical assaults and rapes in any given calendar year (Sanchez, 2012). Naturally, this prevalent problem is one that should not--and cannot--be tolerated or ignored in contemporary society. While Americans as a whole are much more open to talking about sexual violence today, when compared to years past, the Zeitgeist has not yet seemingly shifted from generic concern to cogent affirmative action that will help reduce the prevalence rates. Rather, Bertram and Crowley (2012) argue that this openness has taken the form of representations of sexual assault in popular culture that disguise a lack of change in the attitudes about the subject. In other words, more talk does not necessarily result in measurable and meaningful changes in sexual assault practices. Sociocultural factors often play a significant role in identifying which behaviors are formally recognized as rape and subsequently influence the prevalence of rape (Jalloul, 2013). Perilloux, Duntley, and Buss (2012) noted particularly salient indicators that include negative impacts on self-esteem, sexual reputation, frequency of sex, desire to have sex, and self-perceived mate value. In sum, just because popular culture is more open to discussing abuse does not mean that the general attitude held by its members is one of seeking changes.

While feminists generally have taken a lead in studying the construct of rape in American society, particularly the self-advocacy construct of women's protective rights from women's perspectives, we believe a rightful case also exists for additional research that focuses directly on men's advocacy efforts; they are the group of people most often responsible for the abuse of women. In particular, in 99% of cases, males are the perpetrators of sex crimes against women (Barone, Wolgemuth, & Linder, 2007). Additionally, Parkhill and Abbey (2008) found from a self-report study that of 356 college men from a random, national sample of American universities 58% of the male college participants admitted to having sex with a woman who was unable to consent or communicated a lack of consent. In many cases, even the way that past male abusers talk about women may indicate a belief that the abuse was warranted simply because of gender identities (LeCouter & Oxlad, 2011). Men often hold more rape-tolerant attitudes than women and propose more lenient punishments for perpetrators in date rape scenarios (Dunlap, 2010; McDonald & Kline, 2004), and are also more accepting of rape myths (Hayes, Lorenz, & Bell, 2013). Given these stark gender differences, we believe the research literature would benefit from knowing both female and male perspectives regarding how to best institute rape and abuse prevention in American society. An obvious void exists for better understanding how males also can take affirmative action that will contribute to reductions in sexual violence against women. It makes sense to believe that efforts by both genders will holistically contribute to helping society in this critical domain.

Given the responsibility that men share to end these occurrences, efforts have been aimed at eliciting their direct assistance in order to help reduce the high rates of abuse. Educators at both high school and university levels have sought to teach men regarding their roles in helping to reduce abuse. For example, Lyndon, Duffy, Smith, and White (2011) studied the effects of utilizing high school athletic coaches as a potential means of aggression prevention in young men. Unfortunately, they found that these coaches were either unwilling or ill-equipped to be successful educators on the topic of abuse. Educational interventions on college campuses have been found to be more successful, producing some beneficial changes in the attitudes and beliefs about rape and sexual assault held by the men who participated (Garrity, 2011). Additionally, sexual assault prevention programs have been found to have a positive effect on victimization rates of first-year college students (Gibbons, 2013). …

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